KNOW YOUR HEART HOW DOES
HEART WORK?

STRUCTURE

The heart is made up of four chambers, called atria and ventricles-one atrium and one ventricle on the right, which pump blood to the lungs, and one atrium and one ventricle on the left, which pump blood around the rest of the body.

 

BLOOD CIRCULATION

On each side of the heart, the atrium and ventricle are separated by a valve. Blood is pumped through the right atrium and ventricle and out of the heart through the pulmonary valve, then on to the lungs to be oxygenated. This blood then returns to the left side of the heart. It is then pumped through the aortic valve into the main artery (the aorta) and around the body.

THE AORTIC VALVE

The essential function of a heart valve is to maintain the flow of blood in the right direction. When the left ventricle has contracted fully and pumped the oxygenated blood into the aorta, the aortic valve closes. It only opens again when the ventricle has refilled blood from the left atrium, ready for the next contraction.

Thus, the role of the aortic valve is important in process of blood circulation.

There are four valves that control the flow of blood through your heart, as shown here:

WHAT ARE DIFFERENT
HEART VALVE DISEASES?

  • The most common heart valve diseases are aortic stenosis, mitral regurgitation, and tricuspid regurgitation.
  • Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve opening, most commonly occurring in the elderly due to age-related aortic valve calcification. Severe symptomatic aortic stenosis is a life-threatening heart valve disease.
  • Mitral or tricuspid regurgitation is a leakage of blood backward through the mitral or tricuspid valve.
  • Malfunctioning heart valves alter pressure levels inside heart chambers. If the heart valves are damaged, then less oxygenated blood may reach the tissues, resulting in common symptoms of heart valve disease.

REFERENCES:

  1. Marciniak A, et al., Cohort profile: prevalence of valvular heart disease in community patients with suspected heart failure in UK, BMJ Open 2017.
  2. Braunwald E. Aortic stenosis. Circulation, 1968.
  3. Carabello BA. Introduction to Aortic Stenosis. Circ Res. 2013.
  4. Lindman BR et al, Calcific aortic stenosis, Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2016 Mar 3.